The weather of summer 2021 hasn’t had much to commend it. In fact, it has rained so much that our groundsman WIll, reports that our grass court watering system - installed at great expense just 5 years ago, has only been switched on 3 times this season!
So we approached the August Bank Holiday tournament with some trepidation. There was only a 4% chance of rain forecast but it couldn't quite hold off, and a few spells of light drizzle were just enough to allow for some clay court style sliding on the grass and to dampen the balls to make for a bit more of a work out.
The overcast and slightly chilly weather did not dampen Ealing's spirited members and we had a big turn out with 28 players, 14 pairs competing in 3 groups for the cup!
The tournament used a sliding handicap. The scoring system dictates that whenever a pair wins a game, they start a point down in their next game, at -15. Winning a second game means they start 0: -30 and so on. Each match consisted of 7 games, with each game counting for a point, making every single game count!
The sliding handicap produced some very tight matches, and after the initial rounds, Group 1 had two pairs on the same number of points and Groups 2 and 3 each had three pairs all on the same number of points!
The unenviable task of working out qualifying pairs fell to Tournament referee Janice and was decided on ‘Goal difference’ - in tennis terms, this means who had beaten who in the Group stages. In Group 1 this led to Rakesh and Delainey sneaking past Lara and John to qualify with Samuel and Lynn. In Group 2 Jenny and Adam managed to edge out Shinya and Eri as well as Mike and Liz to qualify along with Max and Manuela.
Group 3 put all of Janice’s tournament management skills to the test, by not only having 3 pairs finish on the same number of points, but also creating a Mexican standoff, each with one win and one loss against each other. This led to each pair having to play a tie break to decide which of the three would qualify. Jeremy and Sara and Charles and Janis went through ahead of Lee and Fiona to qualify to the quarter finals.
The extra tie break proved too much for the Group 3 qualifiers, with both pairs knocked out at the next stage; Lee and Fiona in their quarter finals against Adam and Jenny, then after beating Max and Manuela in their Quarter finals, Jeremy and Sara were knocked out in their semi-final against Samuel and Lynn. Rakesh and Delainey managed to beat Adam and Jenny in their semi-final, meaning after 5 hours of tennis, with very even and close scoring games, the final was contested by Samuel and Lynn vs Rakesh and Delainey!
A single set was played to decide the winners and after some very tight games, Rakesh and Delainey emerged victorious, with just a single break of serve, to win 6:3. A very well deserved victory and trophy added to their cabinet!
As always, a massive thank you goes to Janice for organising the whole day perfectly - it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Also a big thank you to Linda and Richard for making sandwiches to sustain us through the day, as well as a shout out to the supporters for braving the slightly nippy weather to cheer the players on!
We are already looking forward to next year.
- Samuel Oliver
(Lynn, Rakesh, Janice, Delainey, Samuel)